Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Don Robinson, Ph.D.(University of Alberta)
Description: This well written and practically focused book explores numerous topics in the field of medical physics.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide up-to-date scientific/technical background and overview information on the principal areas of medical imaging and therapy physics. This is a worthy endeavor of value to the medical physics community. The authors have met their objective.
Audience: This book is written for a broad audience of medical physicists ranging from students and residents to senior practitioners. The editors are recognized authorities in the field as well as respected teachers and educators.
Features: Most books sporting the title Advances in... are little more than compilations of either conference proceedings or already published and sometimes slightly reworked papers on a given subject. Thankfully, this is not the case with this second volume in this biennial series. It opens with a chapter on digital radiography, mammography, and fluoroscopy followed by a review of image display systems in chapter 2. These two chapters introduce a number of key issues in digital imaging and provide a useful and timely overview as analog imaging takes its long ride into the sunset. Chapter 3 delivers a concise introduction to projection-based image reconstruction with an emphasis on the algorithms most common to CT, PET, and SPECT. While quality control for CT is the focus of chapter 4, international guidelines are only briefly mentioned and the section shows a bias toward the U.S. regulatory environment. This emphasis is a reflection of the book's authorship with only two out of the 30 contributing authors working at centers outside the U.S. The next chapter, devoted to CT radiation dose, provides a well balanced presentation of both the importance of this issue and the numerous difficulties involved in its accurate quantification. The ever growing prominence of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) warrants coverage of this modality, which is provided in chapters 6 and 7 that review key aspects of both its development and basic underlying physics. Chapter 8 provides a fascinating introduction to quantum dots that should not be overlooked. While this topic might at first seem out of place, the application of quantum dots in oncology is an area of current intense research, and papers exploring their utility in radiotherapy are appearing in the literature with increasing frequency. While the imaging focus of most medical physicists tends to extend from basic acquisition to final presentation, interpretation can often be overlooked. Chapter 9 explores radiologist training and statistical learning algorithms while chapter 10 delves into computer-aided detection and diagnosis. Chapter 11 provides a brief but well balanced introduction to the important and controversial topic of the health risks associated with low radiation doses. Imaging is important to virtually every aspect of modern radiation therapy and is concisely reviewed in chapter 12 with particular emphasis on the current hot topic of image guidance. Depending on one's viewpoint, stereotactic radiosurgery is either a subset or an extension of IMRT, a topic explored in chapter 13. Given the myriad of possible dose distributions that might be generated as possible treatment plans, the question of plan optimization naturally occurs. This rather vexing subject is tackled in relation to external beam treatments in chapter 14. Chapter 15 on therapy vaults shielding design is a most welcome addition. The first half of this chapter succinctly covers the essential details that a physicist requires in order to begin such an endeavor. The didactic portion is followed by a well worked practical example. Combined, these two halves form a cohesive whole with sufficient detail to allow even novices to immediately begin designing the shielding required for a therapy vault. As with all other topics in this book, this chapter on shielding must be viewed as a starting point. The regulatory environment in the U.S. is the subject of a brief discussion in chapter 16. Written by a commissioner of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, it highlights the elevated emphasis on security for radiation producing sources that has developed in the post-9/11 environment and directly impacts medical physicists practicing in the U.S. Chapter 17, which examines aspects of statistical modeling, is the lengthiest at over 40 pages. While well written, it may prove a difficult read for those not well versed in mathematical statistics. The book finishes with a chapter devoted to the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) granting agency. Divided into two sections, the first is an excellent introduction to the NIH in general and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and BioEngineering (NIBIB) in particular and provides many pertinent details essential to understanding this organization and its granting process. It includes a useful compilation of the myriad associated acronyms an applicant will invariably encounter. The second section focuses on the crafting of a grant application and, while specific to the NIH, the insights will prove valuable in regard to other funding agencies as well.
Assessment: This well written and well referenced book will prove valuable to both novice and seasoned medical physicists. I can heartily recommend this as an excellent introductory text for those just entering the field as well as a good reference for established medical physicists.